Reddish ware with gray burnished slip
Diameter: 19.5 cm (7 11/16 in.); Overall: 19 x 20 cm (7 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1992.125
The anthropomorphized decoration of this vase may have been an attempt to ward off evil spirits.
The work of Roman potters is very different from that of their Greek predecessors. Greek clay had allowed potters to throw thin-walled ceramics. Slips (paint) made from this clay had permitted painters to draw complicated scenes and figures with infinite care. As the Roman empire grew to include Germany and Britain, local clays found there were better for producing heavier pottery with three-dimensional decoration like the vases shown here. These jars—decorated with a human face (1992.125), animals (1992.126), a feather pattern (1992.183), a wheat pattern (1992.124), and vertical ribs (1992.127.a) were probably filled with foods or liquids and given either as gifts to an elaborate burial or as offerings to a god's shrine.
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